Twitter Parties / Chats: What Are They & How Can They Help My Business?

6/28/2011

- Danielle Leitch, EVP
@DanielleLeitch

With the rising trend of Social Media being included in corporate Marketing plans, it is important to understand the creative and unique ways to leverage this medium for promoting yourself or your business. Twitter, through the use of 140 characters or less, is one of those of those platforms. In addition to establishing an account (a Twitter “handle”, @YourCompanyName), it’s more important to determine the strategy in which you will work this channel. Simply being on Twitter is not enough – engaging with the Twitterverse is very important and identifying ways to be viral in this community is essential to success. Those who can leverage the traditional WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing principles, tend to see exponential promotional and advertising value at very little cost. So, how are they doing it?

Given the true meaning of a social network, Tweeps (people who use Twitter) want to socialize and communicate with others. Providing a platform for those with common interests or needs to share ideas, provide information and discussion is exactly why Twitter has grown massively. Therefore, many marketers have taken to fostering small groups within Twitter, where those interested can follow-along and share in conversation centered on a specific topic. Twitter parties or chats can be thought of as the virtual “Business Networking Breakfast” or “Local Support Group” or “Mommy Meetup” – meeting at a specific day and time to discuss a predetermined topic. Given its the Web, the boundaries are endless, which allows collaboration to cross continents with participants from all over.

Ok, so it sounds fun, but how does it help marketing the business or myself? This is where the creativity comes in. There are some great examples online currently of people who leverage Twitter parties to engage with an interested audience and position themselves to the group as a subject-matter expert. It also allows those they collaborate with to get to know them (albeit digitally in most cases), prior to engaging in a business relationship. Here are a few:

@MoreVisibility (MoreVisibility.com)
As you are already familiar with our company, follow along with #MVChat on Thursdays at 3:30 - 4 pm EST as we share intelligence on Interactive Media. Weekly topics include SEO, SEM, Analytics, Web Design, etc and occasionally we invite special guests to join us!

@LuxeTiffany (TiffanyTravels.com)
As a luxury lifestyle spotter and hotel inspector, this very active Twitter user created two chats centered around the discerning customer. #LuxeDeals focuses on offers in the high-end market (including travel deals) for consumers and #luxchat conducts a monthly Twitter party (meet-up) with invited guests from different high-end brands participating. This monthly party focuses on how the Luxury market leverages Social Media and offers open collaboration among marketing leaders on the topic. Anyone can join in the conversation or just “listen” by watching the Twitter stream. Search either of the hashtags (#) on Twitter to learn more or find a luxurious deal!

Not ready to initiate, promote and moderate your own Twitter party or chat yet? You can still maximize the opportunities available by participating, even if just to watch the conversation for now. I’d strongly encourage you to join in the conversation, particularly if you can add value or have questions others in the chat could offer insight with. Some great examples of those adding value to Twitter Chats & Parties include:

@poshbrood (Poshbrood.com)
This travel website centered around those with children not only provides information on locations, resorts and hotels, but the ability to book/reserve too. The company’s founder manages their Twitter handle and keeps a very active profile, both surrounding the business as well as philanthropic and community events. You’ll see this company involved in many Twitter parties and chats, adding value to the conversation on different levels. Marketing and promoting the company on Twitter becomes painless and cheap when pre-identified audiences appear through these chats. Branding is a given, particularly when you are consistently a value-add in the conversation to those joining.

@LuxuryTravelMom (Kim-Marie Evans)
This Mommy Blogger focuses on family travel with a touch of class. She is an active participant in many Mom, Luxury and Travel chats on Twitter offering advice, guidance, suggestions and most times accompanied by wit! Strategically, KimMarie includes links back to her blog where appropriate, to provide further details and information since Tweets are limited in length. Her follower base continues to grow, both on Twitter and off.

If I have piqued your interest enough to join a Twitter party, use the search function on Twitter to look up topics of interest. From there, keep an eye out for hashtags (#) used with the events to identify dates and times. Many parties (especially consumer oriented) offer prizes or giveaways, especially if hosted or sponsored by a brand marketer. In these cases, typically an RSVP is required, along with certain requirements, which must be met to be eligible to win. Stay tuned … in next month’s article, I will highlight ideas and tactical steps to launch a Twitter party or chat for your brand!

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